I learned love as a transaction. My lovability directly correlated to my use for someone else. Reciprocity was always out of reach, always too much, too selfish. It was such … Continue reading Who is Taking Care of the Caretaker?
Our phone screens are modern mosaics. Each app is another galaxy in the cyber universe, and dating is a huge one. There’s Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, Her, Grindr, Scruff, Hinge, CoffeeMeetsBagel, … Continue reading Dating Apps: A Masterclass
I am not my family’s narrator. I don’t house their voices somewhere in my larynx. I cannot speak for them. My family is like everyone else’s: raucous and dysfunctional. We … Continue reading Brother: an epilogue, a past tense, a Stillborn Sibling
Dear Bridget, Your dorm at IU buds with promise and ghosts of bad decisions past. You’ve arrived at the nexus of adolescence and adulthood that is college. If you thought … Continue reading Dear Bridget: Advice for Freshman Year
You think I am a fragile thing.
My gauzy skin,
The words I speak are kind and raw—
Audible apple slices,
The plum bite of my feedback,
Berry compliments staining all my interactions.
And all you see is my garish smile—
Engulfing my whole face.
It’s hard to hear past the grin.
But sun shines over tragedies often.
Hello past my Versailles looks,
My Elizabethan curls,
My Shirley Temple mannerisms,
If your greeting travels far enough,
It will find where I am titanium.
That my anatomy is more ferocious than flesh.
When I beam, I’m also bearing my fangs— how I’ve torn through every tragedy intent on making me it’s victim.
I’m as gauzy as barbed wire,
As soft as sandpaper.
Some princesses are savages in disguise,
Their crowns are just another weapon,
The thrown is not a place to be adored but a moment to perch before all that has ever tried to break me and gloat, “Despite your most ruthless armies and soulless tactics, I am here. You came to break me only to bow before me.”
This is not a love story. Well… it is, just not in the way you think or I thought in 2014.
The clock says it’s 10:43. The sky is a blackberry sea floating votive stars through its abyss. Beneath the berry void, my feet strike the concrete. My breath is … Continue reading Do I Hate Running?
When did the standard for a successful night include going to bed regularly at 10:30 pm? Because that’s where I’m at. I’ve learned that the metric for my place … Continue reading My Twenties are Trash: A List
I am an intoxicating idea,
But a dizzying reality,
Some untamable force people want with two hands,
But have no idea how to hold on.
I wonder if I am a tall tale in someone else’s narrative–
Some summer camp personified,
The girl with red hair and pretty words.
I wonder if they gawk at how all of me is on fire.
Perhaps I am the cautionary tale of saying too much,
How my mouth became Pandora’s box, and all my truths have taken on lives of their own.
Maybe my admissions are Greek tragedies some other storyteller now claims.
No girl gets to be the author and the muse–
She is always the object, even in her own stories.
Because the fiction is better than the female.
The story doesn’t speak back.
It cannot cry, cannot disappoint.
They are just words, after all.
And the words are better than the rest of the woman,
How you can take them with you after you leave–
The lightest library held in your heart.
You return for my words like they are paradise,
But your hometown is elsewhere.
Somewhere more tap water than tequila.
There, in your hometown, my affirmations cradle your loneliness. They are your lullaby, although you never tell me that.
There, you tell stories about me until they run out.
Until you return to me just long enough for your hands to slip and your granola house calls your name.
And then, you are gone.
Another tourist disguised as an immigrant.
His breath wafted over onto my neck. Warm and content, as relaxed as the rest of him. Inches away, my body was all latches and locks– even when intimate. I only know how to stay stiff when close to men’s bodies, when even the sweetest lover can sour into a predator with the wrong word.
“You’re so tense,” he purred in that dreamy baritone akin to pillow talk. I was facing away from him. My eyes squeezed shut. “Do I tell him? Does someone I barely know deserve a secret that’s never felt air?” my mind raced in the milliseconds between his question and my response. “A man hit me once,” I whimpered. I gulped so hard the saliva and air was a boulder slowly rolling down my throat the whole way down. The ominous silence ravaged my nerves.
His arms made closure where there was distance, each bicep cradling me. His core was now the brace upholding my spine. “I am so sorry,” he articulated clearly into my ear. These weren’t sweet nothings. Where there had been some seductive play there was now sincerity. “It’s fine,” I shrugged. I didn’t want pity. I hadn’t ripped my way through this ruthless life to have some random man to tell me that a man shouldn’t have beaten the shit out of me. I knew that.
A gentle squeeze followed my rebuff. “No, I’m sorry,” he repeated, squeezing again. I muttered “Fuck you” into the pillow. The warm breath was even closer now. He lingered by my ear, until I whipped around to face him. Now, eyes locked into one another, breath heavy in exchange, he brushed his hand against my cheek, “I’m sorry you were hurt. I’m sorry that happened to you”. My jaw shook at something I’d waited so long to hear hailing from such an unexpected place. I couldn’t thank him. “Thank you” couldn’t pass my lips not only because he didn’t get to be my savior, but because I was certain that if I said anything, I would weep. So, with his hand still resting on my cheek, I smiled. My body, a slab of granite for so many before him, softened to flesh. We reminded silent, transfixed by each other’s eyes until sleep arrived.